Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction Curiosities & Wonders

Case Closed?

Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science

by (author) Susan Hughes

illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2010
Curiosities & Wonders, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2010
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7
  • Reading age: 8 to 12


Egypt's first female pharaoh disappears around 1457 BCE --- was she murdered? Find out how DNA closes the case. The ancient Arabian Peninsula city of Ubar vanishes, seemingly without trace. Find out how old maps and modern space shuttles help solve the mystery. Sir John Franklin's 1845 expedition to find the Northwest Passage is never heard from again. Find out how spectroscopy points to some probable explanations.

Case Closed? examines these and six other mysteries from ancient and modern times. Accompanied by photos, maps, diagrams and illustrations, this book reveals how modern science sheds new light on people, vessels and entire civilizations throughout history that simply vanished. In some cases, the mystery has been solved. In other cases, readers can examine the latest evidence and decide for themselves.

About the authors


Susan Hughes
a étudié la littérature anglaise à l'Université de Toronto. Depuis, elle
écrit et publie des livres pour enfants, à la fois des fictions et des
documentaires. Elle habite avec sa famille à Toronto.


Susan Hughes studied English literature at the University of Toronto. She writes both fiction and non-fiction children's books. She lives with her family in Toronto.

Susan Hughes' profile page

Michael Wandelmaier is an illustrator and graphic designer who uses both traditional and digital media in his work. He is the illustrator of Case Closed? Michael lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Michael Wandelmaier's profile page


  • Short-listed, Lamplighter Award, Children's Crown Award Reading Program
  • Short-listed, Utah Beehive Award - Informational Category, The Children's Literature Association of Utah
  • Short-listed, Silver Birch Nonfiction Award, Ontario Library Association
  • Short-listed, Alberta Children's Choice Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
  • Winner, Norma Fleck Award, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Winner, Outstanding Science Trade Book, NSTA

Librarian Reviews

Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science

Here is another original take on a subject — specifically, some well-known historical events that have baffled historians and researchers. Each of the nine chapters describes a great mystery and tells us how scientific tools and research are, in some cases, able to provide definitive answers about what happened. These mysteries span the globe and take the reader from ancient Egypt to the twentieth century. A CAT scan helps an archaeologist determine if an unknown mummy is the missing female pharaoh, Hatshepsut. A filmmaker and a NASA scientist search for a missing Arabian city using the space shuttle. Scientists were able to find large traces of lead in the bodies of three of the men travelling in Franklin’s expedition, suggesting that lead poisoning was responsible for their deaths. And what book of historical mysteries would be complete without the Russian princess, Anastasia? With DNA testing, there is now scientific proof that Anastasia was murdered with the rest of her family in 1918. These are just some of the mysteries that modern science has probed.

Each chapter begins with a brief outline of the question, and is followed by a synopsis of the lost person or place. We then move to “Case Open” and follow the scientists through their process of discovery. There are useful little area maps, drawings and photographs, all nicely laid out. The science is made accessible to a young reader in the interesting and well-written text. It would also work as a read-aloud to prompt discussion in science, technology or history classes. There is detailed index and brief glossary of scientific terms.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2011. Volume 34 No. 1.

Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science

In each of these nine mysteries, readers get the opportunity to read the historical file on the case, meet investigators from various scientific backgrounds who are researching each mystery and study the tools and techniques they have at their disposal. As modern science sheds new light on each mystery from ancient to modern times, readers will learn whether these scientific detectives can finally declare — CASE CLOSED!

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

Other titles by Susan Hughes

Related lists